One man's opinions here ...
I've had pretty good luck with old grooved media (78's and early LP's) as far as ticks and pops by
focusing on deep-cleaning the disks first and foremost. I've been surprised to find that except for
badly damaged disks, 78's are not as prone to constant and annoying ticks and pops as vinyl. I don't
mess with badly damaged disks of either type unless they are highly unique -- usually, given that my
time messing with them has a monetary value, it is more cost-effective to find a better-condition
specimen. However, in those few cases where I've had very problematic disks, as long as I can keep
the needle in the groove I still find that, by a very great amount, the best fix for ticks and pops
as far as audibility is the tried and true manually-fix method. In Sony Soundforge, practice and
experience have taught me to zoom in on the ticks and pops and repaint the waveform using the pencil
tool. Practice teaches you how to do this for barely audible or inaudible results. This is as
time-consuming a method as exists except perhaps editing out microseconds with a blade and splicing
tape (done that, hope to never do that again). But, the results can be superb if you use experience,
learning and your ears to shoot for removal with no new artifacts.
As for non-badly-damaged disks, my own taste is to put up with some crackle and a few low-level
ticks and pops. Why try and mitigate what's inherent to the medium? If I make a transfer, of course
I'll go in and manually fix the few big ticks and pops, but not go in and grab every little
As far as feeding the Packburn, has anyone tried a flat-with-gain preamplifier, then feed the output
of the Packburn thru an appropriate EQ filter, either as a piece of analog gear or in the computer?
I would think, with no EQ, the Packburn would have the best shot at NR, but I might be wrong on
that. Plan B would be to make sure and use the appropriate phono-preamp curve before the Packburn,
so it is getting the intended frequency spectrum to work on. Then adjust for minimum artifacts and
be satisfied that what you're hearing is as good as you're going to get out of that chain of
equipment and stop worrying about it.
But, circling back to my first point, starting with thorough cleaning of the grooved media has
always been my strongest ally in either a good transfer or a pleasant listening experience, or both.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan Myren" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 4:06 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] SV: [ARSCLIST] SV: [ARSCLIST] PACKBURN 323A
May it be an idea to take the signal from the Packburn into a paramertic
equaliser and try to reduce some of the surface noise that way??
Hope to hear from you...
Fra: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] På vegne av George Brock-Nannestad
Sendt: 22. mars 2009 02:44
Til: [log in to unmask]
Emne: Re: [ARSCLIST] SV: [ARSCLIST] PACKBURN 323A
From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Jan Myren described his Packburn setup and seems quite satisfied. I did not
know that it had an "undo RIAA" feature in its later versions, but I assure
you that the Packburn switcher works even better if the treble is not rolled
of like RIAA does.
In cooperation with John R.T. Davies Ted Kendall has developed what they
to call "the Mousetrap" that used components that were 25 years younger than
those of Packard and Burns, although the basic switcher idea was the same. I
do not know whether that is incorporated in Ted's "the Front End"
preamplifier that has many useful features. It is only built to order.
> BUT; Since I think the Packburn works well on clicks and pops; do you know
> if the engineers from the "analogue remaster area" like Robert Parker,
> also used a second noise reduction system to get rid of more of that
> noise, or did they just use it "as is" and accepted a fair amount of
> surface noise on their LP-compilations?
----- if I remember correctly, Robert Parker artificially boosted the high
frequencies by generating distortion by having an elliptical stylus with the
long axis along the groove. This permitted/indeed REQUIRED very heavy treble
filtering to remove the distortion (and any noise from 78s), so that he had
lot of fundamentals. Any lack of brilliance was counteracted by heavy
All in all disgusting results, but John R.T. was forgiving: "it will
advertise that there is plenty of interesting material in these old records,
and those who want to engross themselves will go to the sources".
> -----Opprinnelig melding-----
> Fra: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] På vegne av ADRIAN COSENTINI
> Sendt: 21. mars 2009 20:13
> Til: [log in to unmask]
> Emne: Re: [ARSCLIST] PACKBURN 323A
> Hi Jan,
> When I was the Chief Audio Engineer at The Rodgers & Hammerstein
> archives we had a number of Packburns, and we never used them,
> because they sounded like shit, to put it mildly. Now a days with all
> the digital noise reduction programs out there why aren't you using
> that? Also why on earth are you using a RIAA curve on 78's?! You're
> missing most of the sound. A KAB pre-amp would be much better, even
> though I'm not crazy about the pre-set curves. The OWL 1 is way
> better to dial in the curves. Good luck finding one of those. Anyway
> toss the Packburn and the RIAA curve.
> On Mar 21, 2009, at 11:32 AM, Jan Myren wrote:
> > About Packburn 323 Audio Noise Suppressor
> > HI; I have learned that you for many years (and probably still) use
> > the
> > Packburn for playback and recording from old 78 rpm discs.
> > Since I am a collector of old 78's and have a big collection of
> > records from
> > all ages. I have also spent some recourses on good equipment and I
> > think
> > this Packburn would be the correct analogue device to my set-up.
> > I have a Thorens TD 521 turnable. The arm is a SME 3012R and the
> > cartridge
> > is a Stanton 500MKII and some different stylis, all special made for
> > playback of old 78's! I use a normal NAD RIIA preamp.
> > My experience so far is that it works very well on clicks and pops
> > using the
> > switcher and the blanker. But the continous noise filter bugs me a
> > bit,
> > since I think it doesn't reduce that much surface noise. I don't
> > use the
> > variable adjust very often, since the so called "masked-noise" and the
> > pumping effect bring offer "strange noises" to the sound. Therefore
> > I mostly
> > use the FIXED adjust, and usually set it fixed at 9 o'clock posititon.
> > I have read that some re-issue engineers, like Robert Parker used the
> > Packburn 323A frequently when restoring old 78's for LP and CD-
> > releases.
> > MY main question is if the Packburn was used as a "stand alone"
> > unit or it
> > was also supplied with other noise reduction units in order to
> > filter out
> > more of the surface noise. If so, what did they (or you) actually
> > do and
> > what could eventually be a good supplement for that purpose?
> > I would really appreciate if any of you would please give me some
> > hints and
> > suggestions, since I think the Packburn will work very well if used
> > the
> > right way!
> > Really hope to hear from you again!!
> > Best regards
> > Jan Myren¨
> > NORWAY